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. in the wake of 9/11, president bush and secretary of state colin powell made the case that saddam hussein was set to use weapons of mass destruction. the u.s. invasion was easy, but the mission was not accomplished by that may, even though some insist today u.s. forces did succeed. war planner douglas fife. >> saddam was in fact an extremely dangerous guy. >> martin dempsey. >> today we have in iraq a partner, not an adversary. >> reporter: but 2003 to 2008 was a nightmare of roadside bombs and civil war. a hard lesson. >> we went into iraq without a real plan for how to stabilize the place afterwards. >> reporter: 100,000 iraqis died. nearly 4500 americans lost their lives. many tens of thousands more suffered permanent physical and emotional injuries. illinois congresswoman tammy duckworth, a chopper pilot lost both legs. she said today the war is not over for veterans like her. >> suicides and mental health and untreated brain injuries. we will be taking care of these men and women for the next 60 years. >> reporter: 53% of americans now feet it was a u.s. mistake to send troops to ira
. the timing isn't uncommon. his predecessor george w. bush waited for the last year of his second term. presidents reagan and bush 41 never visited as president. this trip was never supposed to be about breakthroughs. more like showing the flag, solidifying relationships, but even that is fraught in what's been an at times rocky relationship. and in what has always been a dangerous neighborhood. it's where we begin tonight. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel is there. our chief white house correspondent chuck todd starts us off, traveling with the president in jerusalem. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. it has been a busy first day for president obama here in israel. while the trip itself is designed for the president to improve his personal relationship with the israeli
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